A RENEWABLE power energy pod which will allow one farmer to live off the grid in north-west Queensland is being trailed as a potential alternative to costly electricity suppliers.
The first self-sufficient hybrid renewable energy container arrived at the Port of Townsville from Antwerp, Belgium this week before being trucked out to the McKinlay Shire.
The Intech Energy Container will be tested in a two-year trial on one property in the district as part of a $100,000 joint venture between the Queensland Government, McKinlay Shire Council, and MITEZ, with Ergon Energy’s support.
McKinlay Shire Mayor Belinda Murphy said the purpose of the trail was to investigate whether new technologies could deliver cheaper and more reliable power on site on a property.
Currently, the shire has 698km of Single Wire Earth Return lines with 154 customers linked to those that can be both costly and time consuming to repair, leaving property owners without power for extended periods.
“SWER lines span hundreds of properties across North West Queensland that could benefit from this independent power source,” Cr Murphy said.
“This is about reliable power on site with landholders generating at possibly a cheaper price for not just producers, but Ergon.”
Cr Murphy said part of the trial would be to test whether the system could withstand the harsh conditions in the outback.
A total of 26 property holders in the have applied to trail the pod at their property, with the final determination as to where it will go expected to be made during a ballot at the December council meeting, once Ergon’s final audit report rating the suitability of properties is released.
State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said the power pod was equipped with solar panels, a battery and a generator.
“This project is a fantastic example of the innovative ideas getting off the ground thanks to the Queensland Government’s Remote Area Board fund,” Mr Dick said.
“Previous projects undertaken have demonstrated real initiative and imagination and this is exactly the type of activity we need to see in regional areas to grow economic diversity and create jobs.”
MITEZ CEO, Glen Graham said MITEZ awarded a $55,000 grant to the project from the Queensland Government’s Remote Area Board Funding program.
“This is an innovative and collaborative trial to look to the future potential of delivering power to our remote properties with improved reliability and reduction in cost using new technology,” Mr Graham said.
Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said that the arrival of a new class of renewable energy cargo arrive in the port following the utility-scale solar farm boom was exciting.
“Growing container trade has been powered by imports of solar project cargo, and it is wonderful to see new technologies in the renewable sector being shipped through Townsville Port destined for communities in our region.”